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What are the symptoms of a bowel infection?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of a bowel infection are related to the function of the small intestine to digest, absorb and transport food along, according to the MUSC Digestive Disease Center. Diarrhea is the most common symptom, along with bleeding, bloating, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

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Full Answer

There are multiple types of bowel infections, including salmonella infection, protozoal infection and intestinal worms, each with its own, more specific, set of symptoms, notes the MUSC Digestive Disease Center. Salmonella, caused by food poisoning, results in a wide range of symptoms, from those of a mild stomach flu to severe diarrhea and dehydration. Certain related infections may have more severe effects, such as typhoid fever, which causes prolonged fever and brain and kidney inflammation.

Protozoal infections, caused by a parasitic pathogen called Giardia lamblia, also have varied symptoms but most commonly include bowel disturbances, gas, bloating and malabsorption, explains the MUSC Digestive Disease Center. Some individuals may also suffer severe weight loss or steatorrhea, when excess fat is released in stool.

Hookworms, attached to the lining of the small intestine, cause iron deficiency anemia, abdominal pain and diarrhea, as well as potentially significant protein loss, states the MUSC Digestive Disease Center. Tapeworms can obstruct the intestine, though otherwise only cause general abdominal pain or diarrhea. Other varieties of worms can cause similar issues to the digestive system, though most are fairly mild and treatable if detected.

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